Thursday, August 6, 2009

Abs - Got your 6 pack abs yet?

Now that summer is here people are wondering why their quest for a great body – those six pack abs are not anywhere in sight.

It appears that more people have opted for grabbing a 6 pack of beer from the vendor than from trimming down their waistline for those much cherished “Six-Pack”.

No muscle group is more noticeable for men or woman than their abs. In order to have the appearance of a six-pack, you must lower your body fat levels. Doing endless situps and crunches will NOT create a smaller waist or flatter stomach.

Getting “cut” is the development of the bands of connective tissue of the rectus abdominis muscle into deep grooves combined with low levels of subcutaneous fat (fat storage).

Your abdominals are like any other muscle in your body. They can be overworked. Doing endless ab work will not reduce the size of your waistline. On the flip side, it is unlikely that doing too much Ab work, especially with higher intensity/resistance, will result in giving you a big waist. Your ab muscles have a relatively small proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers and are smaller and less leveraged than other muscle groups.

What is required to get Killer Abs?

First, performing strength training for all of your major muscle groups with moderate to heavy weights. This includes strengthening your midsection with added resistance and honing in on core training. Not only will this tighten your abs, but will help to boost your metabolism making your body a fat burning machine.

Second, the best way to burn fat is by doing high intensity interval cardio/aerobic exercise.

Finally, and most importantly – THINK NUTRITION - you must eat smart. This is a must. You have to lose body fat, not weight, in order to “see” your abs and this can only happen when you eat high quality foods. This will help you control your blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and energy levels. Insulin management will help you lose fat and prevent you from gaining fat.

Some Ab Mistakes to consider:

1.Eating too big of portions – moderation is the key.
2. Spot Reduction does not work – you need to lose fat.
3.Having an unbalanced diet – focus on 5 or 6 balanced meals per day AND EAT BREAKFAST!
4. Lack of concentration – aiming for reps rather than technique.
5. Not drinking enough water – water helps flush out waste products.
6. No training variety – vary the exercises – keep your body guessing.
7. Poor Cardio Sessions. Moderate to High intensity workouts are necessary.
8. Working your Hip Flexors rather than your Abs – your trunk only flexes a maximum of 45 degrees, any more and you are using your hip flexors.
9. Too much alcohol – hey beer is great but drink in moderation if you want to get rid of the beer belly.
10. Lack of sleep – rest is a prerequisite for optimal results.

In conclusion, if you want a flatter stomach you must develop an intelligent exercise program and focus on smart nutritional choices. Simply put you need to lower your body fat levels by eating properly and exercising all of your major muscle groups and including an adequate cardiovascular routine. Trainer smarter not longer!